Nut consumption can help women to stay healthy

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Nut consumption can help women to maintain a healthy weight. And that is not all: it also prevents the occurrence of cardiovascular disease in women with type 2 diabetes. Those were the outcomes of two recent analyses performed on data of the so-called Nurses’ Health Study.

Regular nut consumption to maintain a healthy weight!

One of the analyses showed that frequent and long-term nut consumption, in the form of peanuts, peanut butter and tree nuts, does not lead to weight gain. They even found out that nut consumption helped women to keep a balanced weight and to lower the risk of becoming obese.

During the study period of eight years, data relating to the height, body weight and dietary intake of 51,188 women (20-44 yrs) was collected. The relation between body weight changes and nut consumption was investigated. On average, all women showed an increase in body weight of 5 to 7 kg during the 8-year period. But women who frequently consumed nuts gained 0.51 kg less weight than those who rarely consumed nuts. This being despite the fact that nut consumption was accompanied with an overall higher greater fat and energy intake.

Peanut butter consumption for a healthy heart!

The other analysis showed that the consumption of peanuts, peanut butter and tree nuts could help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, even in women with type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are highly susceptible for developing cardiovascular diseases.

A total of 6,309 women with type 2 diabetes were followed for 22 years. Based on food frequency questionnaires the average intake of peanuts, peanut butter and tree nuts was assessed. The women who consumed 5 or more servings of nuts per week* had a 44% reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to women who almost never consumed nuts.

 

The Nurses’ Health Study

The Nurses’ Health Study is worldwide the largest and longest running research among women on factors that influence women’s health. Started in 1976, it has now 238,000 participants. The participants are all nurses from a number of different states in America. Until now, the results have shown that diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors have a positive influence on health.

 

A 28% reduction in risk was even found from a consumption of 1 to 3 servings per month. Even when peanut butter alone was consumed (5 or more times per week) the risk of occurrence of heart problems decreased by 25%. Serving size was defined as 16 g for nuts and 28 g for peanut butter.

Advice for women: enjoy nuts in a healthy lifestyle!

Based on these outcomes it can be concluded that women are able to enjoy a handful of peanuts or nuts every day within a healthy lifestyle! They can help in maintaining a balanced weight, decrease the risk of obesity and decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and this also applies to women who suffer from type 2 diabetes. Thus, eating nuts can even promote health!

  • One serving of nuts weighted 16 grams and one portion of peanut butter 28 grams.

Sources:

1) Bes-Rastrollo M., Wedick N.M., Martinez-Gonzalez A., Li T.Y., Sampson L., and Hu F.B. Prospective study of nut consumption, long-term weight change, and obesity risk in women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009;89:1913-1919.

2) Li T.Y., Brannan A.M., Wedick N.M., Mantzoros C., Rifai N., and Hu F.B. Regular consumption of nuts is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in women with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Nutrition, May 2009; E-pub ahead of print.

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